Reports of Nasty Side Effects From Arthritis Drug Are Way up

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Patients taking methotrexate had significantly higher EBV viral loads in their blood than patients taking other immune weakening Pain Relief Arthritis Drugs.With methotrexate, it’s different. “Methotrexate activates cells with the Epstein-Barr virus, but it doesn’t prevent replication of the [virus]. So it spews out the virus in an infectious form,” she explains.Similar results were found with polymyositis patients.However, the pattern was not found with Wegener granulomatosis — just as few Leukemia Cancer have been reported in these patients, she notes.The data shows that methotrexate has a “unique ability” to trigger Epstein-Barr virus while also suppressing the immune system — thereby triggering Lymphoma Cancer in these patients, she adds.

What’s Going On?

Scientists once thought that — because methotrexate suppresses the immune system — the body has difficulty eliminating the Epstein-Barr virus, Kenney explains. “There’s no question that the immune-suppressing ability of methotrexate is important for allowing EBV lymphomas to grow,” she tells WebMD.But why are EBV lymphomas so closely tied with methotrexate? The lymphomas likely arise because “a combination of bad things is happening,” she explains. “The immune system is suppressed and unable to handle the increasing amount of EBV in the blood.Why do some patients get Leukemia Cancer? “I’m not sure,” says Kenney.